‘Empress’ Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) wins a battle royal

Photo : isu.org
isu.org|22-Nov-2020 19:56

Russia’s 2015 World Champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, nicknamed “The Empress” by her fans, reigned supreme in the Ladies Free Skating at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Rostelecom Cup Saturday in Moscow to take the title in a thrilling final. Current ISU European Champion Alena Kostornaia (RUS) had to settle for the silver medal this time while Anastasiia Guliakova (RUS) captured the bronze on her Grand Prix debut. 

Tuktamysheva, who stood in second place following the Short Program, nailed a triple Axel-double toe right out of the gate in her Japanese-style program “Chronicles of a Mischievous Bird”.

She stepped out of her second triple Axel, but it was smooth sailing after that as she ticked off her jumps: triple Lutz, triple flip, double Axel-triple toe-double toe, a triple Lutz-Euler-double Axel and triple loop.

The 23-year-old from St. Petersburg picked up a level four for two spins and a level three for the footwork and the layback spin to rack up 148.69 points. With a total of 223.39 points, she displaced overnight leader Kostornaia and claimed the fifth Grand Prix gold medal of her career. 

“I was not confident of victory as the competition was very strong,” Tuktamysheva said. “It was a nice surprise and a nice ending to this Grand Prix.

“It was a great atmosphere and great support and I did not want the program to go downhill. The music keeps building and it is such a rare chance now to perform in front of an audience. I fed off the energy of the crowd and I gave energy back.”

Kostornaia delivered an inspiring performance to “Romeo and Juliet” and “W.E.” by Abel Korzeniowski that was highlighted by four clean triples and beautiful spins. However, three triples were slightly underrotated and she lost points in her step sequence and a combination spin that garnered only a level two.

The 2019 ISU Grand Prix Final Champion earned 141.94 points and slipped to second with a total of 220.78.

“I knew that Lisa (Tuktamysheva) had skated very well as I watched her while I was waiting at the boards for my turn,” 17-year-old Kostornaia said. “I just went out to do my job, but not everything worked out. Obviously you need jumps like the triple Axel and quads to compete at the highest level so it is in my plans and I’m working towards that.” 

Skating to “Don’t Say You Do” and “Real Boy” by Lola Blanc, Guliakova produced a clean triple flip, triple Lutz and loop as well as innovative spins that merited a level four. But she also underrotated a few jumps. The 18-year-old scored 128.96 points and pulled up a place into third on 199.03 points.

“It was my first Grand Prix and I am happy that I was able to give two decent performances,” Guliakova said. “There still were some errors and we’ll keep working on that. When I saw my score I did not think it would be enough to be on the podium so I am very happy now.”

Quad queen” and defending Rostelecom Champion Alexandra Trusova (RUS) had an off day and missed her quads to drop from third to fourth on 198.93 points. Elizaveta Nugumanova (RUS) finished fifth on 191.52 points while Eva-Lotta Kiibus (EST) came sixth (186.00 points).

The Rostelecom Cup concludes Sunday with the Exhibition Gala.

For full entry lists and further information regarding the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series please visit: https://isu.org/GrandPrix. Follow the discussion on social media by using #FigureSkating #GPFigure.